See this for both a Jimmy Kimmel appearance on Leno's show that is funny and painful and for an interesting take on this stuff.
And Bill Simmons tweeted this old NYT piece, where Leno blasts NBC in 1992 for treating him as Conan is being treated now.
"NBC is like a guy with two girlfriends who doesn't know which one he's going to marry on Jan. 15," Mr. Leno said [in 1992]. "And the longer you wait, the madder they both get."
"It's a tricky situation," Mr. Leno said [in 1992]. "Dave is truly a star and terrific, and this is a terrible position NBC is in. But fragging your own soldier doesn't make any sense to me."So, who is the soldier getting fragged here, Jay?
Of course, Jay Leno is not the bad guy here. Ok, he sort of is, as he had decided to walk away and then changed his mind, starting this train wreck. But the NBC bosses are the bigger bad guys because they saw a way to make some money for the network by transforming into a second class network--run Jay at 10pm and give up competing with the other networks (and screw the affiliates). But why should TV execs be any different from banking or auto execs.
Great power seems not to lead to great thinking. Forget about great responsibility.
I don't see Jay as a bad guy at all, and I think the emphasis on him seems to be the desire for a bad guy, for it to be a sport, than what Jay did. They fragged Jay by demanding he give up his spot to Conan. And they got him to do it by promising him that he'd have a new show at ten. Then they say you can't have the show at ten anymore, we'll move you back to 11:30 and you can have a half-hour down from an hour. Essentially, NBC knows both Jay and Conan have no real power. If they wanted, they could get rid of both and bring in entirely new people eventually. Jay's big error is that he wants to stay on the air, and having survived the last controversy, he would probably do fine if he gets the Tonight Show back. So people saying that he should sacrifice his career for Conan when he already sort of did isn't really fair. He's a nice guy, and Conan is a nice guy. Zucker is the villain.
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